Dwyane Wade shocked the NBA world on Wednesday night when it was reported that he will leave the Miami Heat and sign a 2-year, $47 million contract with the Chicago Bulls.
While the move by the 34-year-old is not going to dramatically impact the balance of power in the Eastern Conference, it is a blow to the Miami Heat who have now lost the face of their franchise. Meanwhile, Wade is leaving the only NBA team he has ever played for and returning to his hometown.
There were reports that the things had gotten ugly between the Heat and Wade. Chris Broussard of ESPN reported that Wade and Riley were not even talking to each other during the negotiations. However, when reached for comment after Wade decided to sign with the Bulls, Riley sounded anything but angry.
According to Dan Le Batard of the Miami Herald, Riley was “too raw” to talk about the decision at length. However, when asked how he was feeling, he had a great, heartfelt response that expressed mostly sadness. Here is what Riley wrote to Le Batard via text:
“SADDDDDDD!!!! SO saddddddd! I will never forget the sixth game in Dallas in 2006. DW rebounded the ball, and threw it to the heavens and the Heat universe was perfect for that moment. Our first world championship. Our universe is not perfect today. It will be fraught with anger, judgment, blame instead of THANK YOU!!! Ten years ago. Ten years older. Ten years wiser. Ten years changed. All of us. Dwyane had a choice, and he made it. He went home. Bad, bad summer for us. But there will be another 10 years, and it will be someone or something else in 2026. Move on with no blood or tears. Just thanks. I truly loved Dwyane, but families grow, change and get on with another life. He will always be a part of us. ALWAYS! And no more bruises and enough fighting. Let’s just fly above it if we can and never forget. I feel his pain and pride for what pushed him over the ledge. Been there. Forever, for always, your coach I will be. FOREVER!”
The Heat are now in dire straits. They missed out on the Kevin Durant sweepstakes, lost Luol Deng in free agency, and are not sure what they can expect from Chris Bosh who missed the second half of this past season because of a bloodcot. Now they have lost Wade without getting anything in return.
Riley is widely regarded as a recruiting mastermind and the Heat will eventually rebound. But for now, they are going to have find a way to piece together a roster without the one player that was the common link to all three of the franchise’s championships.
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